Israel had previously been the British Protectorate of Palestine. Originally established post World War I after the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire, the land consisted of Arabs and Jews whose claims of sovereignty ranged back hundreds of years. After the Holocaust in Europe in World War II, the USA and Great Britain decided on a final location for a Jewish homeland. The British Protectorate forces found themselves under attack from both sides who set up terrorist organisations to further their territorial claims.
Early Israeli Terrorism starts by looking at the events of 22 July 1946, when a massive explosion ripped through the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, headquarters of the British administration in Palestine. It killed 91 people in the latest and most shocking attack to be mounted by a deadly group of Jewish terrorists as they fought to drive the British out of Palestine and establish a homeland of their own – Israel. Although the King David Hotel was one of the worst Israeli terrorist attacks, it was still just one of many. Other targets included bridges, military bases, public buildings and railways as well as politicians and soldiers marked for assassination. Ironically, several leading Israeli terrorists would eventually emerge as internationally respected leaders of their countries.
After a number of outrages, the British left Israel delicately balanced between its Arab neighbours. The terror groups were gradually transformed into the Israeli Army and Mossad, the highly respected Jewish security service, both of which are highly active to this day.
Early Israeli Terrorism is part of the BBC documentary series, International Terrorism since 1945